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Video clips for teaching language ideologies

Several colleagues have suggested film and video clips that may be useful in teaching about language ideologies, including the value of standard and non-standard varieties, social stereotypes, and style shifting.

Thanks to Elise Kramer, Robin Queen, Lauren Squires, and other participants in the discussion for these useful suggestions.

The YouTube video “Your Grammar Sucks #29” by user jacksfilms is illustrative of ideas about  grammar, usage, and intelligence or social positioning.

The reality TV program “Here Comes Honey Boo Boo” features child beauty pageant contestant Honey Boo Boo Thompson and her family in McIntyre, Georgia. Of sociolinguistic interest in the fact that much of the family’s dialog features subtitles. The program comes from TLC; this clip was posted to YouTube by hannah9184.

The 2006 film Akeelah and the Bee, about Scripps National Spelling Bee contestant Akeelah Anderson, discusses issues of African American identity, language, and education. In this clip, Akeelah (Keke Palmer) and her tutor (Laurence Fishburn) argue over Akeela’s “ghetto” speech.

On a clip in Inside the Actors Studio, Dave Chappelle tells James Lipton, “Every black American is bilingual.” He describes how he speaks “street vernacular” or “job interview” in appropriate circumstances. (The question that prompts the discussion starts at 7:07. The earlier content, about how Chappelle writes his socially incisive jokes about race and socioeconomic class, is also worth watching.)

This clip called “The Buzz: Vocal Fry trend” by therhodeshow features discussion of vocal fry or laryngealized speech, which the discussants attribute to “teenage girls” who “all sound alike”. As Elise Kramer suggests, criticism of young people – the very students we are teaching – can be useful because it may prompt critical argument from them in response.

1 thought on “Video clips for teaching language ideologies”

  1. I think this video is helpful for students to think about race, language ideology and variation.

    Jamila Lyiscott – 3 Ways to Speak English

    Jamila Lyiscott is a “tri-tongued orator;” in her powerful spoken-word essay “Broken English,” she celebrates — and challenges — the three distinct flavors of English she speaks with her friends, in the classroom and with her parents. As she explores the complicated history and present-day identity that each language represents, she unpacks what it means to be “articulate.”

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